What Does It Mean When Your Kitten's Tail Is Always in the Air?

A kitten with his tail held high is happy and confident.
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

It seems like every time you see your kitten, his tail is held high in the air. Kittens and adult cats use their tails for communication. He sees you as another cat and assumes you understand his feline body language. Observing his tail will teach you how he's feeling.

The Tail Tells

You've heard your kitten talk to you with a variety of meows, but he has another language, too: body language. His tail is a vital part of his body language. By looking at the position of his tail, you can get information about how he's feeling. While a high tail indicates happiness, a swishing tail means he's cross or nervous. A tail curled like a question mark means he wants to play. If he tucks his tail between his legs, it means he's scared and submissive. If he's angry, his tail will be low and he may rapidly whip it from side to side. Kitty's tail is kind of like a built-in mood ring.

Happy To See You

You're probably your kitten's favorite person in the world. He'll let you know this by holding his tail high in the air whenever he sees you. It's his indication that he's happy to see you and inviting you to curl tails with him, if you had one. When two cats twine their tails together is kind of like you hugging someone you care about. This behavior is reserved for those Kitty trusts and considers his buddies.

Confident Kitty

A tail held high also indicates that your kitten is confident in his surroundings. Your home is his territory and safe haven. When he's patrolling his territory, he's the one in control. He doesn't have any fear or worry that something bad might happen to him. He'll let you and everyone know how confident he feels by keeping his tail in the air. If you notice the tip twitching this indicates excitement as well; a stiff, quivering tail indicates a proud and excited feline.

Kitty's Rear-View

Another time Kitty will have his tail held high is when he shoves his little rump in your face. He equates your stroking him to his mother grooming him in the nest. Before he was weaned, she would lick his butt to let him know it was time to use the bathroom. Since you're like a surrogate mom to him, he'll assume you'll want give his butt a lick. While it seems gross, he's just calling you mom.

Ready To Mate

If your Kitty is a female, she may be going into heat. If she's around six months old, then she's old enough to have kittens of her own. She'll adopt whats called the lordosis position: her front end low, her rear in the air, treading her back feet and her tail held high or to the side. This is to allow a boy cat to mate with her. You may also notice her tail being stiff and quivering. She'll yowl like she's in pain, and rub against anyone or anything in your house. This behavior will continue for days at a time, several times a year until she becomes pregnant or she gets spayed.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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